Powering a small business to help disabled veterans
A lifelong cyclist, Mark Power built his first recumbent bike for his wife while stationed in Germany. The second was for himself so she wouldn’t feel self-conscious on their rides. This new hobby became a business and the veteran never looked back.
“I had so much trouble sourcing parts for those first two bikes that I started a web business in 1996 that catered to folks who wanted to home build,” says Power. “After I retired from the Air Force, we opened a brick-and-mortar store in Florida, and from there we got into the adaptive cycling world.”
At home in the States, his business grew as Veterans Hospitals began bringing patients to the store to get them on bikes. With a couple adaptations, Power had them riding. Veterans soon made up a good portion of his client list.
In 2009, the Powers relocated to East Tennessee. They envisioned an easy shift from retail to manufacturing, but changing their business model and setting up shop wouldn’t be as easy as they’d hoped. “I’ve had a successful business since 1999 and never had a loss,” says Power. “We still couldn’t get financing. Nobody wanted to touch us.”
A chance conversation at the Warrior Games in Quantico led Power to Pathway Lending. “I made the call to Pathway and the ball started rolling very quickly. That shocked me after so many doors had been closed,” says Power. “I was in Washington state doing an adaptive camp with the Air Force when I got a phone call from Hank Helton. He said, ‘Mark, you’ve got your building and your machines.’ I was so floored that I drove to Nashville the next week to thank them in person.”
Pathway helped Power purchase his workshop, as well as two CNC machines and a powder coating booth and oven. This new equipment not only brought more work in-house, but also automated a few processes to speed up production.
“When you get a kid who’s in an electric wheelchair all of a sudden pedaling 13 miles an hour, and he comes back bawling, you just can’t put it into words when you see that,” says Power. “And Pathway has made Power On Cycling able to do so much more for a lot of people.”
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